Perspectives and experiences of fatherhood among young people : a case study of 'black' students at University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Not much is known about young fathers in South Africa; as a result, there is a lack of literature that focuses on young fathers and fatherhood in South Africa. However, there is a growing body of international literature about young fathers and their perceptions of fatherhood, even though this is mostly concentrated in the global north, especially the United States. The overall aim of the study was to explore the perspectives and experiences of early fatherhood among 'Black' university students in Durban. This was done by engaging young black men that are fathers. A qualitative approach was adopted in order to give the respondents freedom to discuss their experiences at length. The sample consisted of seven respondents that are Black, fulltime students and aged 18-25. Young fathers who are 'Black' were chosen purposefully because the statistics show that the fet1ility rate of young Black people is significantly high when compared to young people of other race groups in South Africa. This study found that all the young fathers that participated in this study had not intended to have children, and were therefore not ready to become fathers when their partners told them that they were pregnant. Furthermore, it was found that all the young fathers that pa11icipated in this study did not live with their children. Instead, the children lived with their mothers. There were various reasons given for this arrangement, but the most dominant one was that it was because the young fathers had not paid damages to their partners' families, as cultural practices dictate, for having impregnated them. Most young fathers that participated in this study are no longer intimately involved with the mothers of their children. However, they are on good terms with them and they have managed to maintain civil relationships with them in order to have access to their children. This study found that modem contraceptive knowledge is high amongst young fathers, although the usage is inconsistent. Finally, this study found that young fathers equate fatherhood to responsibility, providing financially, giving emotional support, and spending quality time with their children. However, there was a feeling of inadequacy and dissatisfaction amongst young fathers because of hindrances that prevent them from executing their roles of fatherhood effectively.
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